Exploring a European career after an MBA: Mariana Marceillac

When Mariana Marceillac (Peru, MBA’20) started her job search last year, she didn’t necessarily expect to end up in Hamburg, Germany as a Learning & Development Specialist at FREE NOW. While many of her classmates found their first post-MBA job in the Netherlands, Mariana’s experience shows that doing an MBA in the country can be a great springboard for exploring career opportunities throughout Europe.

Marceillac took up her new role with the tech company just before the pandemic hit. FREE NOW is the multi-service mobility joint venture backed by BMW Group and Daimler AG. Next to ride hailing, the tech company also offers micro-mobility services and car sharing to 45 million users in 17 markets and more than 150 cities.

Switching industries

And while Germany itself might have been somewhat of a surprise outcome, the actual position was the result of a methodic job hunt, she explains: “I have a background in HR and when I started looking for opportunities last August, I took to heart the advice RSM MBA Career Services gave me: don’t overhaul every aspect of your career at once! I had already changed my location by coming to the Netherlands from Peru, and I am actually very passionate about Learning & Development. That opened up the opportunity for me to switch industries.”

“I decided to focus on Learning & Development specialist roles, where my skills and experience were valued the most, and apply to several industries.”

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Purpose

“I feel very lucky to work for FREE NOW. Doing my MBA at RSM, and more specifically the Personal Leadership Development programme, has taught me that I need to feel aligned with an organisation’s purpose and culture to really thrive somewhere. At FREE NOW I have found that: a company that is changing urban mobility in a positive way, and an organisation that understands the strategic value of nurturing and developing the people that make business happen.”

Learning culture

“Another reason I love it here is the strong learning culture. There is a strong enthusiasm for collaboration and knowledge sharing through learning events, agile ways of working, and other initiatives that take place at all levels of the organisation. After a period of hyper-growth we experienced in the past years, it is up to the team I work in to ensure that these efforts stay aligned with the company objectives, without losing that typical scale-up passion. I feel that the insights I gained through an MBA, which go far beyond my own field of HR, are extremely useful in this mediation between bottom-up energy and board-level strategy."

Performance management

“On the development side, we are also in charge of the talent management processes. How do we manage and foster our talents such that we develop our people while constantly improving our business performance? At the same time, how do we avoid people feeling ranked and judged when we measure their performance? In my MBA, I have learned to look at this challenge from both sides and balance the needs of the organisation with those of the people.”

Hamburg

The transition from Rotterdam to Hamburg was a relatively easy one, Marceillac says: “I think I had already overcome the biggest culture shock after I moved from Peru to the Netherlands. While Germany does feel like a different country, there are some cultural similarities to the Netherlands. What stands out for me is that when I go to a shop and speak German, which I already did, people here are eager to chat in German to me. In the Netherlands, everybody speaks English so well and jumps on every occasion to do so.”

“Other than that, in many ways, the city itself reminds me a lot of Rotterdam, with its port landscapes and cultural diversity. And yes, I do miss the support network from classmates who mostly stayed in the Netherlands. I have made many new friends in Hamburg’s large expat community, and even got to connect with some RSM alumni in Germany. On top of that, the many Peruvian restaurants definitely help to feel more at home!”

Learn more about how doing an MBA at RSM opens up the European job market here.

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